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Home for the Holidays…..

Amid the boxes, chaos, and clutter were bits and pieces of a dream. 

His anger was as mysterious as he was. His primary contribution was talking about how much better his life had been before her.  She told him that she had had enough of him being angry at her about losing a home that he hadnt paid for.  She said simply that if he could not be there to be supportive that he might as well leave. He surprised her by deciding to stay.

His presence there had changed the tenor of her home. He remained distant and aloof from everyone but her. He let her know that despite the fact that he slept there every night, he did not live there, and anytime she suggested that they share in the responsibilities more equally, he reminded her that his home was elsewhere.  He utilized her fear of being left, (by him) as a means to stay. He had the upper and lower hands and she  felt caught in between. She hated the example that she was setting for her children; she hated the alternative even more.

She found herself in an ultimate fight match of sorts. She was ill prepared and life was hitting her hard. She was used to feeling beaten yet the reality of her situation came down hard like a right-cross to the jaw. When it hit her (in a way that only life can) her head snapped back and spun around. She stumbled, almost fell, and  for a while even considered( just )staying) down. She realized however, that (if for no other reason than those depending on her) she had to find her way back up.

 He was speaking to her of the upcoming rainstorm. She had almost given her usual response; “times like these make me am that I’m not homeless,” when she realized that for the first time in her life, she was.   Comprehension of her current circumstance engulfed her.  She caught herself and stopped the statement before it began.

With everything removed from the most recent place that they called home, he seized the opportunity to express his disappointment in the decisions she had made.  Had he been aware of anyone other than himself however, he would have seen that she was in fact devastated and defeated.  The person upon whom others leaned on felt completely lost and alone. She was falling in front him but he was too self-absorbed to see it.

He was angry at the current situation, but had failed to consider anyone’s feelings beyond his own.  She listened because anything she said only seemed to heighten his rage. Her attempts to find a compromise failed.  His angry outbursts continued. In frustration, he slammed his hand on the beautiful granite kitchen counter top and stated that he would not go through this again.

 She was dumbfounded. Quietly she reminded him that it had been his choice to go through it before, as he had been given the option to leave.  She reasoned that perhaps had they both been working as a team early on, they might have avoided the situation completely. He reminded her of how good his life had been before her. She explained to him that to compare a marriage to their relationship was not fair. He insisted that he was not making comparisons.  Growing tired of his inability to see her disappointment with herself, she asked him what then, if not making comparisons, was he doing.  He stumbled through a meager explanation before admitting that in fact he was.   

His rant, the uncertainty and unfairness of the entire situation felt as if they were draining her life’s blood away.  She managed her emotions quite well.  This experience allowed her to feel everything and nothing all at the same time.  She caught the tale- end of what he was saying.  “You never learn!” upon hearing it, she snapped herself back into the conversation.  Her response was that she had indeed learned plenty.    

Earlier, they had been discussing the Angel Trumpets tree that she had insisted on digging up and taking with her.  The tree had weathered many storms.  From a tiny stem in a cup of water, she had cared for and nurtured this wonderful plant.  She planted the tree with care and noticed how it had immediately taken to the soil.  She liked that.  It appeared as though she and the tree had much in common. The tree’s roots, like her loyalty towards those in her life, ran deep. It reminded her of her now deceased friend. This woman though decades older had provided her with hope in times of darkness.  This woman had given her the belief that (eventually) she would be ok. This woman had the gift of foretelling what had not yet come to fruition.  She remembered the phone call.  She heard this woman’s husband telling her that the woman’s history of heart problems had finally caught up with her.  She was saddened deeply by the loss of her friend. She had the opportunity to share with her the joy at finally having met the one they spoken of.  She went outside and in a chair next to the tree, mourned the loss of her friend. In that moment, she decided that wherever she went, so too would the tree. That she had taken her tree with her made leaving her home less difficult.  In that way, she still possessed what she considered a part of what had once been hers.

She felt frustrated at his unwillingness to understand. Now, standing here listening to him become angry at her decision to take (the now towering) tree, she thought about how foolish she felt while talking to the tree as she broke it’s branches.  She hadn’t wanted to, but it was the only way it would fit on he truck. She apologized and told the tree that in doing so, she had seen the error of her ways.  She smiled as she thought about her friend and the good times they had had.  Each broken branch brought with it a memory and metpahor for her life.  She remembered how many people had told her that if she uprooted the tree it certainly die.  That tree proved them wrong.  Instead of dying, it came back stronger and bigger.   Having been stripped of it’s folage, the tree looked like she felt; vulerable and small.  

His gift to them was the security that she had been seeking.  She admired the way in which he provided for his adult daughters. He believed that is was his responsibility to provide for all of the basic needs.  He provided them with much more.  She pretended not to notice but finally called his attention to the fact that the ways in which he was providing for his grown-up children, was the way in which he was not providing for their child.  Despite the disagreements, his lack of effort care and concern, deep down inside she believed that (should anything happen), he would take care of their child just as he had done for his grown children.  

The littlest one told her how much she liked the hotel room in which they were all now staying. While they attempted to make the small space work for all of them, he was sleeping comfortably in his home.  That he had not offered the oldest one shelter for him, was debatable.  His reason; the nastiness that comes with caring for one who is wheelchair bound and blind. That he had not offered the littlest one the shelter of his home, for her was not.

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One thought on “Home for the Holidays…..

  1. hmm its anna again, and i find this to be quite relateable, its like your telling the story of my life… with out the man and everyone to take care of… but i find that i too am staying in a very small hotel/motel room with , an old person who is getting on everyones nerves right now a child with glasses and a smaller one , who is only 5 but really awesome.. but anyways .. how is the book coming along??? i would like to hve my copy signed if you dont mind.. thank you… and the “he” sounds like a jackass…

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